Understanding the Coronavirus Crisis: Key Fiscal and Economic Indicators | Peter G. Peterson Foundation
Understanding the Coronavirus Crisis
Key Fiscal and Economic Indicators as the Nation Responds and Recovers
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is an unprecedented national emergency requiring a significant federal response. This page provides resources and analysis, tracking the actions our leaders are taking to respond, and providing insights on the state of America’s fiscal and economic outlook during the recovery.
While U.S. economic output continued to grow last quarter, it remains below pre-pandemic levels.
Cumulative Budget Deficit
$1.7 TrillionCumulative Deficit for Fiscal Year 2021.
The federal deficit is expected to reach $2.3 trillion this year, the second highest amount ever.
The unemployment rate has improved from its peak of 14.7 percent in April 2020, which was the highest of any month since January 1948 — when data were first collected.
Cost of Coronavirus Legislation
$5.3 TrillionTotal Cost of Enacted Legislation to Date
Lawmakers have passed legislation funding a range of new and existing programs aimed at providing economic relief.
1.125%Interest Rate on 10-Year Treasury Notes, as of April 8, 2021
The Treasury has been able to borrow cheaply because the Federal Reserve has lowered interest rates in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gross Federal Debt
$28 TrillionAs of March 1, 2021
The amount of federal debt held by the public is anticipated to exceed the size of the economy by next fiscal year.
Real GDP Growth
Indicator Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis, Gross Domestic Product, March 2021.
Note: That number reflects the percent change in real GDP from the preceding quarter. It is reported at an annualized rate.
Cumulative Budget Deficits
Indicator Source: Department of the Treasury, Monthly Treasury Statement, Issue for March 2021.
Note: The federal fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30.
Indicator Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Employment Situation — March 2021, February 2021.
Total Cost of Coronavirus Legislation Enacted
Indicator Source: Congressional Budget Office, The Effects of Pandemic-Related Legislation on Output. September 2020; and estimates for Divisions M and N — Additional Coronavirus Response and Relief under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, January 2021; and Estimated Budgetary Effects of H.R. 1319, American Rescue Plan of 2021, March 2021.
Indicator Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury, Treasury Auction Results, April, 2021.
Indicator Source: Peter G. Peterson Foundation, What Is the National Debt Today?, March 2021.
Note: Each business day, the U.S. Department of the Treasury reports the amount of debt outstanding at the end of the previous business day. Our formula uses that number, as well as debt projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), to estimate the rate at which the debt is currently growing. Our estimates reflect the latest information from Treasury and CBO projections that are updated 2–3 times per year.
Gross federal debt equals debt held by the public plus debt held by federal trust funds and other government accounts. In very basic terms, this can be thought of as debt that the government owes to others plus debt that it owes to itself.
The Latest and Trending
Latest insights from the Peterson Foundation on the fiscal and economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.